NBAA Convention News

TEB honors its ‘good neighbors’

 - September 30, 2008, 7:06 AM

For the first time ever an NBAA Convention site has been chosen as the venue for Teterboro Airport to hand out its annual Good Neighbor Awards recognizing business jet operators who fly in such a way as to avoid noise-sensitive areas around the bustling New Jersey airport.

Created in 2004 by the Teterboro Industry Working Group–which includes NBAA, AOPA, the National Air Transportation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association among others–the awards give credit to aircraft operators who avoided violations of airport noise rules and nighttime operations. The winners are either operators based at the airport or those who have made more than 100 flights into and out of Teterboro during the year, who have not violated the voluntary night flight curfew in effect between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., or operated Stage 2 aircraft at the airport.

“This is an effort to recognize the people who are compliant, who are cooperating and who are trying to do the right thing,” said airport manager Richard Heslin. “We want to recognize them in front of their peers, in front of the general aviation community, and the NBAA Convention is really the ideal venue for that.”

Teterboro Airport takes noise enforcement seriously, given the number of communities the airport counts among its neighbors. It established a noise-abatement advisory committee in 2004, according Heslin. “There are 14 communities on that committee, and we meet quarterly regarding noise concerns.
We report to them on noise levels, on the number of violations that have been sent out in the previous quarter, on the number of operations and on the number of Stage 2 operations, so the communities around the airport are very involved.” The airport also has noise-monitoring stations positioned in six towns surrounding Teterboro.

While Heslin said he is proud of the award winners, he does have a serious enforcement system at his disposal to make sure violators are quickly brought in line. “If somebody violates the voluntary curfew or if they operate a Stage 2 aircraft into the airport, they get a letter from me saying we want you to comply with our voluntary fly safe, fly quiet program, and if you violate our noise rules [again], you get a violation letter from me warning you will be banned. If you get three violations in a two-year period, you’re banned from the airport forever.”

The system has been working. According to Heslin, Stage 2 operations have dropped 24 percent in the past two years, and nighttime operations are down 7 percent, meaning operators are taking the restrictions seriously. “Teterboro Airport is critically important to the region, and all the operators that come in and out of here recognize how important it is to their business,” Heslin said.

The Good Neighbor Awards were originally given out as part of an annual noise symposium sponsored by the airport. While initially well attended, the numbers began to slip, causing the program organizers to postpone last year’s event and awards ceremony while searching for an appropriate venue. “In brainstorming about how to do it better, how to improve it, we came up with having a press conference at the NBAA Convention, and rather than just recognize the most recent people who achieved the award, we didn’t want to forget those in 2006,” said Heslin.

The Good Neighbor Awards for 2007 will be presented today at a 2 p.m. press conference.